A crystal oriented metal back contact for solar cells is disclosed herein. In one embodiment, a photovoltaic device and methods for making the photovoltaic device are disclosed. The photovoltaic device includes a metal substrate with a crystalline orientation and a heteroepitaxial crystal silicon layer having the same crystal orientation of the metal substrate. A heteroepitaxial buffer layer having the crystal orientation of the metal substrate is positioned between the substrate and the crystal silicon layer to reduce diffusion of metal from the metal foil into the crystal silicon layer and provide chemical compatibility with the heteroepitaxial crystal silicon layer. Additionally, the buffer layer includes one or more electrically conductive pathways to electrically couple the crystal silicon layer and the metal substrate.
The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308 between the United States Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, managed and operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.